Our startup for the week is Anikiu Co, a backpack accessory startup with a goal of pushing their message of social justice. The business was founded five years ago by Annika Paesta, a political economy major with a minor in environmental studies and theatre.
The company slogan is Carry the Future.“Everyday as consumers we decide what to buy and what we represent” says Paesta “When we wear a product with a social message like a backpack or a pouch, other people will see it just by walking around.” For instance, one of Anikiu’s products, a pouch with the slogan “Protect the Earth” helps remind customers to recycle everyday.
The product lineup for the business is backpacks, pouches and other clothing accessories. While the target is young girls, the product fits for anyone and any audience. The products are made in Peru, but are primarily sold in California and Los Angeles in places like Silver Lake and Expo Park. “One of the organizations we work with is Girl Up, a UN group that supports Women Education” says Paesta “When walking down the street, other people see it which starts up a conversation about issue”
Most of the sales are online with social media sites like Instagram, the main promotionally tool for Anikiu. The startup does not have any retail stores yet but that is a main goal
“Our main goal is definitely to get into retail” says Paesta Right now, the startup is small and sells only at a few events throughout Los Angeles, but the goal is to scale up, develop new products end sell across country to places like Colorado, San Francisco, New York, etc.
Right now, my real problem is I need a mentor” says Paesta “Sometimes, I don’t know where to start and it takes a bit more time and money to figure it all out and learn as I go.” While the business is currently self-founded, Paesta plans to focus more on outreach and advertising in order to get more investments and awareness of the brand.